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Gua Bao (literally means “cut bun”), also called sandwich bun or foldover bun, is a typical Taiwanese street food that originated from Fujian in Southeastern China. It is also commonly called Taiwanese hamburger or “tiger bites pig” in Taiwan as the bun resembles the mouth of a tiger. Traditionally, the fillings consist of stewed pork belly and stir fried pickled mustard green, garnished with coriander and ground peanuts. Popular savoury variations include fried fish, eggs, stewed beef, fried chicken, eggs, vegetarian and for those with sweet tooth, fillings can include jams and fruits. The same dough for the buns can also be made into fluffy steamed buns or mantou. The savoury fillings can also be served with steamed rice. For my gluten free Asian recipe, the fillings for my gua bao is stewed five spice beef brisket cooked in pressure cooker and then shredded to make pulled beef, together with shredded carrots and cucumber, garnished with fresh chilli, coriander and spring onion and served in gluten free steamed buns. This recipe is also dairy free, soy free, nut free, egg free and refined sugar free. This stewed five spice beef brisket can be served with steamed rice or even ready-made store bought gluten free buns if preferred.
Beef brisket is a regular cut of beef used mainly for corned beef, barbecue or pot roast or stews. This cut is from the cow’s breast section just below its first five ribs and above the forelegs. The flat cut or flat half is deemed the healthier and leaner half of the brisket with less calories (also called first cut or thin cut). Brisket is high in protein, complete with all the essential amino acids. In addition, brisket contains high levels of oleic acid that aids in increasing the levels of good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and at the same time reducing the bad cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Oleic acid is also found in olive oil. Lean brisket is contains many vitamins and minerals. It is a substantial source of the B group of vitamins like vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and vitamin B12. Lean brisket is also an excellent source of minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and selenium. Health benefits of lean brisket include: prevention of diabetes; lower risks of high cholesterol and reduced risk of cancerous cells growth; support healthy red blood cells and stimulate energy in the body. Lean brisket can be a good addition to a healthy diet if eaten in moderation.
Gua Bao with 5 Spice Pulled Beef (Steamed Sandwich Buns)
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1 hour, 15 minutes
1 hour, 50 minutes
- 1.5kg (53oz/3.3Ib) beef brisket (lean flat cut), trimmed and cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 medium star anise
- 6 cloves
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil for brushing the buns
- ¼ cup rice flour for dusting
For the Sauce:
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup blackstrap molasses
- ¼ cup gluten free Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup medium dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon five spice powder
- 3 teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mix with ½ cup water
For the Garlic and Ginger Oil:
- 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
- 3 inch ginger, peeled and cut into fine chopsticks
- 3 spring onions thinly sliced into 1cm lengthwise
- 3 sprigs of coriander roughly cut into 1 to 2 cm lengthwise
For the Dough:
- 350g (12.3oz) rice flour
- 150g (5.3oz) potato starch
- 100g (3.5oz) cornstarch
- 100g (3.5oz) tapioca flour
- 2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons xantham gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons agave syrup
- 2 cups (500ml) rice milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Garnish:
- 3 long fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
- 1 oriental cucumber, halved and deseeded and finely shredded
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely shredded
- 3 spring onions, thinly sliced into 1cm lengthwise
- 3 sprigs of coriander including stems, roughly cut into 1 to 2 cm lengthwise
For cooking the pulled beef using pressure cooker:
- Mix and combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl using a hand whisk.
- Add all the beef pieces into a pressure cooker, then add the sauce prepared in step 1, stir and mix well.
- Cook the marinated beef for 35 minutes until the beef is soft and tender and pulls apart easily.
- Remove the beef pieces from the pressure cooker and place on a chopping board, with 2 forks, tear and shred the beef into smaller pieces.
- Place the shredded beef into a large bowl.
- Reserve the sauce from the cooked beef by running the sauce through a fine sieve and place in a medium bowl.
- Pour ½ cup of the reserved sauce into the shredded beef in step 5. Stir and combine well. Reserve the rest as additional sauce to serve.
For the Garlic and Ginger Oil:
- Heat up a frying pan with 8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and stir-fry the garlic and ginger on low heat until lightly golden.
- Add the spring onions and coriander and stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add the dry sherry, sesame oil and mix well. Turn off the heat.
- Drizzle the garlic and ginger oil into the shredded beef prepared in step 7. Toss and combine well.
For the dough:
- In a large bowl, combine and whisk together all the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
- Warm up the rice milk in a small pot for 2 minutes. Then add the extra virgin olive oil, agave syrup and vanilla extract and mix and combine well.
- Add the wet ingredients mixture prepared in step 2 into the well of the flour mixture and mix and combine well with a spatula.
- Then use your hands to knead the dough in the large bowl until you have a smooth dough that resembles thick creamy ice cream.
- Cover the dough with cling wrap and let the dough rest on the benchtop for 1 hour.
- Divide the dough into 14 balls (around 95g/3.4oz each). Dust the benchtop and rolling pin with some gluten free flour. Flatten and roll the balls into 5 inch oval shaped dough with the middle slightly thicker than the edges.
- Then brush a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil on the dough surface facing up.
- Fold into semicircle and place on top of a piece of parchment paper and press lightly. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough rest for another 15 minutes.
- Heat up a wok with a steaming rack with some water and place the bamboo steamer on top of the steaming rack. Steam the buns for 10 minutes on high heat in batches. Ensure that there is sufficient water in the wok for the whole steaming process. Repeat until all the buns are cooked. You can use any type of steamer.
For serving the pulled beef buns:
- Pull open the steamed buns gently while they are still warm and place some shredded carrots, cucumber and pulled beef into each bun.
- Garnish with some red chillies, spring onions and coriander and serve.
Amount Per Serving:
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12.31 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.42 g
Sugars 13.55 g
Vitamin A 2.61 %
Vitamin C 1.53 %
Calcium 14.83 %
Iron 17.24 %
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Healthy gf Asian
*Allergens*: Sesame and yeast.
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